10 UK Export News You Might’ve Missed – Week 14

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week 14

In this edition of Export News from Expordite, we’ll cover the top 10 UK export news and headlines from week 14 of 2024 – April 1st-7th, 2024.

Key News

General Export News

1. Rishi Sunak facing pressure over UK arms sales to Israel

Rishi Sunak is facing growing pressure over UK arms sales to Israel, after the killing of seven aid workers by an Israeli strike in Gaza.

The Liberal Democrats, Scottish National Party (SNP) and a former UK national security adviser are calling for sales to be suspended now.

Labour says sales must stop if government lawyers believe Israel risks breaching international law.

The prime minister says the UK has a “very careful” arms licensing regime.”

Source: BBC News

2. Civil servants request to stop work over arms sales to Israel

Officials in the Department for Business and Trade (DBT) have raised concerns with senior civil servants that they may be liable if it is deemed Israel has broken international law.

In correspondence seen by Sky News, the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS), which represents civil servants, has requested an urgent meeting with the department to discuss “the legal jeopardy faced by civil servants who are continuing to work on this policy”.

It is understood members have asked their employers to stop giving them tasks related to export licences to Israel, alongside other work that may be related to Israel’s war on Gaza.

Source: Sky News

3. Common user charge: rates and eligibility

“As part of changes to import controls under the Border Target Operating Model (BTOM), from 30 April 2024 the common user charge will apply to commercial imports entering or transiting through Great Britain through the Port of Dover and Eurotunnel from all countries.

From 30 April 2024, you will need to pay the common user charge if you are a UK business importing a consignment of goods that:

  • enters or transits through Great Britain through the Port of Dover or Eurotunnel

  • is eligible for sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) checks at a government-run border control post (BCP) in England

The charge will apply even if the authorities do not select your consignment for SPS checks.

CHED duties

Source: GOV.uk

4. Exports Minister visits Latin America to boost trade and unlock billions worth of exports

Minister for Exports Lord Offord has kicked off a visit to the Dominican Republic, Colombia and Bolivia to meet counterparts and fly the flag for British businesses looking to sell their products in markets round the world.

Lord Offord has signed a Government-to-Government agreement with the President of the Dominican Republic that will open access to a pipeline of infrastructure projects worth over £2 billion and strengthen trade ties between the two countries, helping to grow the UK economy.

The agreement marks the start of a new strategic partnership between the UK and the Dominican Republic. Together, the UK government and leading British businesses will work to deliver priority infrastructure projects across the water, healthcare, energy and transport sectors, helping to grow exports and drive economic growth.

The UK resolved around £1.3 billion worth of trade barriers that were preventing UK businesses from exporting their goods and services to the Latin America and the Caribbean region in the financial year ending March 2023 – meaning some of the UK’s most innovative companies can now trade more freely abroad.

Source: GOV.uk

5. Anti-dumping measure protects cast iron articles industry

The Secretary of State for Business and Trade has today (4 April 2024) accepted the TRA’s final recommendation to maintain anti-dumping duties on imports of cast iron articles from China.

The anti-dumping measure, which was transitioned from the EU, will be extended for five more years to protect the industry from being injured by low priced imports from China.”

Source: GOV.uk

6. Competition law and free trade top of the agenda as British Ambassador meets new Minister of Economy

“Ambassador Whittingham underscored the UK’s interest in deepening economic ties with Guatemala and working together to bolster the business environment and foreign investment. Both discussed the importance of the competition law as a tool to levelling the playing field for local and foreign companies wanting to do business in Guatemala.

The Ambassador offered to consult and share the experience of the Competition & Markets Authority, the UK’s institution dedicated to promoting competitive markets and tackling unfair behaviour. A competition law is currently under discussion at the Guatemalan Congress.

Bilateral trade between October 2022 and September 2023 was USD 400 million; Guatemalan exports to the UK market were USD 320 million, while British exports to the Guatemalan market were USD 80 million. The main Guatemalan products exported were vegetables, fruits, sugar, beverages, coffee, and oleaginous fruits; while the main British products were cars, coffee, tea, miscellaneous electric goods, specialised machinery, and beverages.”

Source: GOV.uk

7. Manchester company fined over £870,000 for illegal waste exports

Roydon Resource Recovery Ltd and one of its directors Wilfred Sumner, 66 of Ashbank Avenue, Bolton were convicted of the illegal export of waste. Additionally they were convicted of a disregard for proper management protocols. The prosecution came after 10 shipping containers, containing 247 tonnes of refuse, were unlawfully exported to Poland under the guise of the green list process.

The illegal export, which was claimed to be clean plastics sorted from household waste, instead contained a majority of plastics which were unsuitable for recycling. The waste was also heavily contaminated with other household items including electrical items, nappies and oil cannisters. Roydon, part of a group of recycling companies of which Wilfred Sumner is a director, gained significant financial advantage through these actions.

At a sentencing heard at Manchester Crown Court on 27/03 Roydon Resource Recovery Ltd was found to be directly implicated in this illegal export. The company was ordered to pay a total fee of nearly £870,000, including £811,181 in Proceeds of Crime. The company’s director, Wilfred Sumner, was also ordered to pay a further £10,000.

Source: GOV.uk

8. UK urged to take bolder trade strategy as CPTPP bid draws criticism

The UK government should take stronger measures to boost exports and attract foreign direct investment (FDI) as the country continues to trail its trade rivals, according to a report from the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC).

The Global Britain Challenge report suggests the UK should provide a “stable framework for business investment and growth”, put more emphasis on services exports in trade deals and set up an FDI council.

The report highlights the need to create a “positive business environment”, including “tax incentives, appropriate regulation, availability of a skilled workforce with a rapid work visa turnaround time and a planning system that considers the investment implications of decisions”.

The BCC also calls for the UK government to finish the ratification process and formally join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

The UK’s prospective membership of the CPTPP has drawn recent criticism from the Business and Trade Committee, an independent group of MPs set up as a watchdog for the Department of Business and Trade.

Source: Global Trade Review

9. Exports drive UK commercial vehicle production

“Export volumes of UK-built commercial vehicles increased by a massive 188% in February, with production almost doubling, according to new data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

There were 12,927 vans, trucks, taxis, buses and coaches produced in the month, equating to a 98.4% uplift in volume and the best February performance since 2008.

Exports increased to 10,011 units, representing 77.4% of all commercial vehicles made in the month, with more than nine in 10 (97.6%) destined for the EU.”

Source: FleetNews

10. Foodservice focus for British red meat in Canada

One export business will join us at the Restaurants Canada (RC) Show in Toronto from 8–10 April 2024.

The show, which is expected to attract more than 22,000 visitors from Canada and around the world, will provide the opportunity to connect with key foodservice buyers, influencers and operators.

Our analysis has highlighted opportunities for premium red meat products in Canada, which are differentiated from domestic production. In 2023, the UK exported 2,097 t of beef to Canada, worth £10m, 812 t of pork worth £2.5m, and 619 t of sheep meat worth £2.6m.

Source: AHDB

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